Fashion is never just fashion. What we wear tells the story of who we are, where we come from and how we feel. Take a look at African beadwork for example: Admired for its intricate designs, patterns and colour combinations, the jewellery has fast become a huge part of contemporary Western Fashion. However, the cultural and historical significance belonging to the beads and the hands that weave them contain a far deeper story and message.
It’s out with the old, and in with the new. As magical and mystical as winter can be, (if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person) there’s nothing like welcoming the idea of new beginnings halfway through the year. While Spring is like a trial run of Summer, we don’t want to be caught off guard when the scorching summer sun descends on us in all its glory.
(And by F word, I’m referring to Fashion, just in case you were wondering.)
In High School, I was the most interested in fashion, out of all my friends. We would make plans to meet up over the weekend, going to parties, movies or shopping dates and a few hours before, I would phone them up and ask them “what are you wearing tonight?” To which they would casually reply, “Aah probably just jeans and a tee-shirt or something, I haven’t decided yet.”
I could never relate because there I was, at 2 pm, with the aftermath of hurricane ‘I-have-nothing-to-wear’ clearly visible in my ransacked closet.
After the ball was over, all the wannabes and fashionistas who were unfortunate enough to not be invited to one of the most prestigious fashion events of the year, swarmed onto social media to ooh and aah over the glorious gowns worn by only the best in the West.
We have already established that clothes are never just clothes. They’re threaded with meaning and reflect our identities. We all have a relationship with the clothes we wear, whether we like it or realise it or not.
At a basic level, we need them to serve the primary function of covering our bodies, but the choice of materials and styles we choose to fulfill this purpose goes far deeper. The decision to wear what we wear is embedded in our psyche.
I am fascinated with this latter reason for dressing and so I decided to take advantage of the diversity of styles that inhabits Rhodes University’s campus and go find out what students wear and why they wear it.
I asked eight students to describe their personal style and explain why they wear the clothes they wear, and here’s what they said:
Photos: Jade le Roux
They say the only constant is change, but sometimes change is so consistent you have to blink to see the difference. To quote the French novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr:
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
How can one write properly and insightfully on any given topic, and ensure the writing remains relevant to the present socio-political context if one doesn’t themselves engage in extensive reading on the said topic?
The answer is simply that you can’t, or at least not very successfully. As writers, we have to constantly seek inspiration not only from our own minds, but the genius thoughts of others, and so of late, I have been doing a lot of reading on the subjects of Fashion and Feminism and the fine line between art and self-expression.